Pocatello High Art School Students Make Connections Across the Globe

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Updated: 2/22/2013 10:46 am

An Art teacher at Pocatello High School is inspiring her students to make connections on a global scale through a school activity called the, "Memory Project." Summer Joy stopped by to find out the details beyond these canvases.

Pocatello High School art students are working on a project that reaches beyond these doors to half way around the world to touch the lives of people in Africa.
Jennifer VanWasshenova attended an Art education conference and heard about the "Memory Project". 

 This project connects children in orphanages who have been abandoned, neglected, or mistreated with high school students, in this case, about 30 students at Poky High, who received the opportunity to paint their portrait.

"It's a way for them to actually be involved in something greater than themselves and their project. They are able to connect with someone they've never even met before  on the other side of the world an they can get to know them just by looking at their picture and drawing their portrait can make that personal conection," said Jennifer VanWasshenova, an Art Teacher at Pocatello High School.

Jennifer applied and was awarded a Service Learning Grant through School District 25 to cover all the costs. It is 15 dollars per student and that covers the charge of receiving the photograph, all the processing, and to help support orphanages connected with the organization.  Jennifer says her students are nervous at first because they want to do so well, but by the end they are so excited to help touch a child's life with something beautiful. 

"I think it's kind of cool even though none of us know these kids, they will get something to call their own and to know that somebody eels across the world is thinking about them," said EmiLee Finch, a senior at Pocatello High School.

These students also have to learn and do research about their child's home, his or her economy, society, health care, and geography.  Their main focus though is to help bring their child hope and to make them feel loved.    

"Just knowing that somebody cares about them, an artist, to take the time to look at them and at their face for hours and hours studying every curve, line and angle and spec of color; knowing that they are worth being looked at," added VanWasshenova.

"I think when we find kid's reactions and when we get their pictures back with them holding the portraits of them, I think that will be the best part," added Finch. 

Their portraits will be sent to Africa over this summer and then by next fall the students at Pocatello High school will get a photo of their child holding their portrait.
If you would like to get involved or want more information go to memoryproject.org. 


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